Saudi Arabia urges Barzani to call off Kurdish independence referendum

Saudi Arabia urges Barzani to call off Kurdish independence referendum
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Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani. (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia urges Barzani to call off Kurdish independence referendum
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Turkish tanks during a military exercise near the Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi, Turkey, on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2017

Saudi Arabia urges Barzani to call off Kurdish independence referendum

Saudi Arabia urges Barzani to call off Kurdish independence referendum

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia urged Kurdish leaders on Wednesday to call off next week’s planned independence referendum in the interests of Iraq’s stability, security, unity and sovereignty.
The referendum “may result in negative repercussions” for the fight against terrorist organizations, and “it would be best to avoid new crises,” a Saudi government statement said.
The Kingdom “looks forward to the wisdom of President Masoud Barzani in not holding a referendum … in order to spare Iraq and the region more risks,” and “calls upon the parties concerned to engage in dialogue in order to achieve the interests of the Iraqi people.”
All parties should adhere to the agreements they had signed, and to the provisions of the Iraqi constitution, the statement said.
The Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi insists that the referendum is unconstitutional, and the Iraqi Supreme Court has ordered it to be suspended. “The referendum is rejected, whether today or in the future, in the Kurdistan region within the 2003 borders or in the disputed areas,” Al-Abadi said.
Al-Abadi also hinted at a possible military intervention in Kirkuk, which is home to diverse communities including Arabs and Turkmen who oppose the vote.
“If a Kirkuk citizen is exposed to danger, it’s our legitimate duty to impose security,” he said
Amid growing international pressure on the Kurds to call off the vote, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to impose sanctions against the Kurdistan Region. Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region, has warned that any breakup of Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict, and is due to prepare a formal response on Friday.
The Turkish cabinet and security council would discuss Ankara’s options and “put forward their own stance on what kind of sanctions we can impose, or if we will,” Erdogan said in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.
Nevertheless, Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government, remains determined and defiant. Irbil’s union with Baghdad had come to an end, he said, and he called for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to be “kind neighbors” instead. There was no other solution than to go through with the referendum, he said.
Barzani has said a “yes” vote would not trigger an immediate declaration of independence, but rather kick-start “serious discussions” with Baghdad.


Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir
Updated 17 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
During the call, Sheikh Tamim congratulated the crown prince on the advent of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Prince Mohammed also exchanged well wishes on the occasion.


Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 608 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 389

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded eight new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,773.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 951 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 400,228 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 8,820 remain active and 962 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 389, followed by Makkah with 212, the Eastern Province with 144, Asir recorded 38 and Madinah confirmed 32 cases.

The ministry also announced that 608 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 361,813.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 137 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 2.95 million.


Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber and Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat finalize an oil grant deal in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 3 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
  • Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber, who is also the chief of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY), signed an agreement with Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat, to supply oil derivates to operate more than 80 power stations in Yemen in collaboration with the country’s government.
The Saudi oil derivates grant worth $422 million will help support Yemen’s economy and develop the country’s infrastructure.
Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people.  Al-Jaber said the grant aims to support the Yemeni government overcome energy crisis and create job opportunities.


Who’s Who: Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim, general manager of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Saudi Ministry of Education

Who’s Who: Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim, general manager of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Saudi Ministry of Education
Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim
Updated 1 min 34 sec ago

Who’s Who: Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim, general manager of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Saudi Ministry of Education

Who’s Who: Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim, general manager of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Saudi Ministry of Education

Dr. Motaz Abdulrahman Alsolaim was recently appointed general manager of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Saudi Ministry of Education. He has also been an assistant professor of finance management and entrepreneurship at Majmaah University since 2019.
Alsolaim graduated with a bachelor’s degree in financial management and marketing from Western Kentucky University in the US, and studied for a Master of Business Administration at Swansea University in the UK. He obtained a doctorate in entrepreneurship and startups from the University of Brighton, also in the UK. During his studies he launched several startups in the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia.
After receiving his doctorate, Alsolaim worked for parts of last year and this year as a senior consultant for innovation and entrepreneurship at Masarat Consulting, and with Palladium in Riyadh as a project lead adviser.
He is a member of a number of international professional organizations, including the British Academy of Management, the UK-based Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Financial Management Association in the US. He is a key member and representative of the Saudi Ministry of Education as part of its Global Entrepreneurship Monitor team.
Alsolaim founded educational services company Aim Big in 2017, and served as financial manager for security services company Seyaj in 2011 and 2012. Prior to this he provided finance and marketing analysis at US-based Keller Williams Realty.
He received the Best Scientific Research Award at the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprises in Madrid, and the Award of Scientific Excellence from the Saudi ambassador in the UK.


Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah
  • The trial will begin on April 19 and will continue until mid May
  • It will allow travelers to create digital passports to ensure all government health requirements are met

JEDDAH: Saudia Airlines announced on Monday that it will trial the digital travel and health pass developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It will start on April 19 on the Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah route.
The pass is a mobile app that helps passengers to simply and securely manage their travel information and documents, and comply with any official precautionary requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to flight details and personal information, including passport data, the app can also store verified COVID-19 test results and proof of vaccination. It also includes an option to securely share required information with testing labs or airlines.
According to IATA, users need not worry about the security of their data as it remains confidential and is stored in an encrypted form locally, on the phone. If app is deleted, so is all of the user’s data that is stored in it.
The aim is to help ensure passengers have a safe and seamless travel experience, as part of the efforts to ensure a safe return to international travel and support the recovery of the aviation sector from the effects of the pandemic. During the trial and testing process, IATA will work to develop the app for use across the airline’s network.
“This is great news. I hope it gets approved and applied to all international flights,” Abdullah Al-Muhsin, form Riyadh, told Arab News.
“As a vaccinated individual, this will make it much easier for me to prove my immunity. This step … invites people to get vaccinated and also ensures health requirements are met.”
Turki Khalaf, also from Riyadh, told Arab News: “Anything that would make life easier and reduces costs is good.
“I hope that the next step is our travel pass becomes vital too, and we become free of the anxiety every time we go to the airport, fearing that little note might get lost, stolen or damaged.”
The trial will continue until May 17. Travelers are encouraged to use the app but it is not a requirement. During the trial period passengers must still carry traditional documentation, printed or in digital form, that shows the result of a PCR test by an authorized clinic, as immigration and health authorities might require it. In addition, the travel pass does not replace existing travel or entry requirements in Saudi Arabia, including possession of a valid passport and visa, if applicable. Visit www.saudia.com/travel-pass for more information.